Chiang Mai Sightseeing

Wiang Kum Kam

Wiang Kum Kam the First Lanna Ancient Kingdom


wiang kum kam

Wiang Kum Kam is located close to the Ping River, in the the south of Chiang Mai. Wiang Kum Kam is an ancient city dating back to the eighth-century Haripunchai Kingdom. Expect to see many interesting items and structures such as stone tablets with Mon inscriptions, Buddhist sculptures and architecture, earthenware and pottery. 

Wiang Kum Kam was the capital of the Lanna empire for a period of only 10 years. Because the town regularly flooded, Mengrai decided to move the capital to his newly founded city Chiang Mai in 1296. Wiang Kum Kam remained an important town in the Lanna Kingdom until the 16th century, when the Ping river changed its course. After flooding largely buried Wiang Kum Kam under mud and silt, the town was abandoned.

Later on it served as the capital of the then Lanna Kingdom for a short while until Chiang Mai was chosen to replace it in 1296. King Mengrai had constructed a new capital on the opposite bank of the Ping River, which he named Chiang Mai. Translating to “new city,” Chiang Mai was built on higher ground and used a large pond to receive the excess of flood water.

wiang kum kam

Excavations of Wiang Kum Kam

In 1984, the Department of Fine Arts in Thailand discovered remnants of the old city at Wat Kam Thom and afterwards excavation was begun, later many new remains have been found and restoration has proceeded since that time.

A total of 42 ancient monuments have been excavated, the majority of which have been partly restored. Most comprise of a viharn and a chedi, surrounded by a wall.

A few temples are in use today, including the Wat Chedi Liam and the Wat Cham Kam. Part of Wiang Kum Kam’s attraction is the peaceful rural surroundings. The site is much less visited than better known sites as Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.

You can  explore the ruins by horse cart or tram or your own vehicle, starting from the visitor centre.

Now, the Lost City of Wiang Kum Kam is a magnificent place to visit in order to find out more about a forgotten age.

wiang kum kam

wiang kum kam

Attraction places in Wiang Kum Kam

The survey found that there are over 42 sites of the ancient remains in the area of Wiang Kum Kam. Some are the ancient Buddhist temples and some are the ancient Buddha image.  The important one are  Chedi Liam Temple, Chang Kham Temple, the pagoda of Kum Kam Temple, Noi Temple,  Pu Pia Temple, Pra That Khao Temple and E-Kang Temple. The art and architecture are varied and mixed between the old and the modern form of ancient Lanna.

wiang kum kam

Get around Wiang Kum Kam

The Wiang Kum Kam archeological park is too large to be covered on foot. There are several ways to get around. Tours around the site can be made by tram or horse and carriage. Tours take 45 minutes to 1 hour during which stops are made at six to nine ancient monuments. Tickets can be booked at the information center or Wat Chedi Liam. Visitors receive a brochure in English with information about the site.

At the Wiang Kum Kam Information Center and Wat Chedi Liam you can make a tour with a horse carriage (200 THB per carriage per tour) or with a tram (20 seats, 1-5 persons 250 THB, 6-10 persons 300 THB, 11-15 persons 350 THB, 16-20 persons 400 THB per tram per tour).

At the information center you can also rent bicycles (20 THB) or take a look at the Wiang Kum Kam Museum (10 THB).

How to get to Wiang Kum Kam

Wiang Kum Kam is located 5 km south of the city of Chiang Mai, can be accessed by Route 106 (the Chiang Mai – Lamphun road) near the Ping River.

By Car : Any taxi driver in Chiang Mai will be able to take you to the site, but be sure to negotiate for the driver to wait while you tour the site and pay after you have returned to Chiang Mai.

By Boat : Boat departs four times a day at 9.00 a.m., 11.30 a.m. 14.00 p.m. and 16.00 p.m. Visit “Wiang Kum Kam the Ancient Underground City” by horse carriage.(For Boat trip you can contact travel agency in Chiang Mai)

Entrance fee & opening hours

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:00, Admission is free.


Chiang Mai Festival and Events

Khom or Lanna Lantern

Khom or Lanna Lanterns the Lights of wisdom

khom, khom kwaen, lanna lantern

In Asia and elsewhere, sky lanterns have been traditionally made for centuries, to be launched for play or as part of festivities. Lanterns are a traditional handicraft of Northern Thailand and it is during the Loy Krathong festival that the most beautiful and special ones are displayed. Chiang Mai people compare the lantern’s light to the light of wisdom which sheds light onto the path in darkness. So they offer these lanterns to Buddhist monks in order to worship the Buddha. They believe that offering lanterns is auspicious and brings merit, and they will be born with the greater light of wisdom in their next incarnation.

khom, khom kwaen, lanna lantern

khom, khom kwaen, lanna lantern

Nowadays, there are four different kinds of illuminated lanterns or khom. One of the most famous of these lanterns is the khom kwaen (hanging lantern), which is offered to pay respect to the Buddha, it is also often seen hanging in front of houses, sala and businesses. Khom kwaeng have four different shapes : baat phra (alms bowl), dao (star), takran (basket) and tammajak (wheel of Dhamma). Recently, Lanna artists have created innovative new shapes such as rockets, airplane, umbrellas and so on. Those lanterns are used to decorate the front of shops and houses only.

A khom kwaen’s frame is made of bamboo and covered with saa (mulberry) paper, sometimes with cotton. It is then cut into various patterns, elaborately decorated with silver and gold colors.

khom, khom kwaen, lanna lantern
khom, khom kwaen, lanna lantern

How to?

The Wheel of Dhamma lantern is one of the most famous lantern designs in Chiang Mai. It is also compared to a nest of red ants and has an octagonal shape. Bamboo is cut into 1cm. wide and 2-3 cm. slrips. They are then folded into 16-24 corners tied with thread. Trianglular pieces of bamboo are formed to be the holder part.Saa paper is pasted around the frame leaving the top part open for the candle holder to be put in and the air to flow in. Pieces of paper cut into different patterns like four petal flowers or sun’s rays are used for decoration. A long tail is then added to the lantern.

Normally, Loy Krathong Festival takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar; hence, the exact date of the festival changes every year. In the Western calendar this usually falls in the month of November. In Chiang Mai if you are visiting our beautiful city after these dates, you still can enjoy a bit of the festivities by viewing the beautiful lanterns exhibition at the Three Kings Monument.

Chiang Mai Festival and Events

Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai

Loy Krathong floats of hope and flying lanterns

Full moon, brightly illuminated night and a sense of communal well-being are the key to the appeal of the annual Loy Krathong celebration.

loy kratongOriginated as a way to pay homage to the river Goddess, Loy Krathong was adopted from ancient Buddhist traditions and then adapted to incorporate Thai characteristics. Taking place upon the full moon of the 12th month on the Thai lunar calendar, Loy Krathong is celebrated nationwide, but most magically in Chiang Mai.

Literally meaning “floating basket”, Loy Krathong sees people “float off’ their fears and concerns while wishing for a better future. It is believed that a properly prepared Krathong (basket) is a vehicle to a new beginning, which is why many people come up with elaborate decorations for their baskets, filling them with all kinds of beautiful flowers, candles and joss sticks as well as coins. Some people go to the extreme and also cut off their fingernails and hair and place them on the basket as a symbol of letting go of negative thoughts and experiences. Above all, however, it is a convivial occasion in which to celebrate amidst lots of beautiful lights.

loy kratong

Loy Krathong is widely believed to have been originated by a court lady named Noppamas in the ancient capital of Sukhothai. The krathong basket is of huge significance at the event. Young students make their own krathong a day or two prior to the main event as part of their cultural studies. Many order an elaborate kratong for themselves in advance from their trusted florist. However, those acting on impulse can always buy beautiful krathong on the night of the event.

Whatever kind of krathong you are carrying with you that night, remember to pay homage to the River Goddess and make a wish for a bright future. Who knows what might come of it?

In the Northern Thai province of Chiang Mai, which was once part of the ancient Lanna Thai kingdom, the ritual of launching hot-air lanterns (khom loy or khom yee peng) is a unique aspect of the region. Traditional belief has it that when the lantern is set adrift and floats away in the sky, so do all the troubles of the villagers. For the residents of Chiang Mai, the Yee Peng Festival is an exciting period where the whole city comes alive swathed in beautifully decorated lanterns made from paper.

yee peng, yeepeng

Loy Krathong generally takes place over one or two days, but Yee Peng in Chiang Mai turns into a three day festival, though there are events scattered over five to six days. Flying lanterns, which are made from thin fabrics such as rice paper, illuminate the sky, making it one of the most romantic events. The focus of the celebrations is around Nawarat Bridge, Thapae Road and along the Ping River. If you like the party atmosphere, then this is the place to go.

A more spiritual venue can be found at Wat Chai Mongkol temple, on Chareonprathet Road. This temple has a concrete landing on the river, where devotees can easily launch their krathongs.

As it is in a temple, the celebration is much more quiet and relaxing for kids and elderly people. Throughout the evening hundreds of khom loy balloons will be released into the air from the temple grounds.

Loy Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar; hence, the exact date of the festival changes every year. In the Western calendar this usually falls in the month of November.


While in Chiang Mai during Loy Krathong, join in the beautiful Loy Krathong Parade, on the 14th of November. This parade features giant illuminated krathongs, on top of which are perched candidates for the upcoming beauty contest. The parade goes from Wat Phra Singh to the Governor’s house, passing through Thapae gate and Thapae Road. It starts around 7 pm. until late at night.

The sight of hundreds of fluorescent, jellyfish-like lamps gracefully floating overhead creates a magical atmosphere. Illuminated water-ways, buildings, trees and gardens citywide make the historical city of Chiang Mai a destination city for the romantic couples and the young at heart. It is time to make a wish for happiness together and success in love…

Coinciding with Loy Krathong is Yee Peng Festival, which sees people in Chiang Mai celebrate the Lanna full moon by floating into the sky lanterns called “Khom Loy

Chiang Mai Activities Chiang Mai Sightseeing

3D Museum Art in Paradise

Art in Paradise Chiang Mai “Step into the Picture”

art in paradise chiang mai

Chiang Mai is a city for art lovers. From unique architecture at every single temple to beautiful galleries, the city is full of cultural spaces. And now, Art In Paradise Chiang Mai has finally arrived in our town. Get ready to let your imagination march into a miraculous dimension of original 3D art works.

Art In Paradise Museum stands out as something different in the city. The 3D-trick eye museum located on Changklan road offers visitors the unique opportunity to actually become a part of the art on display. Using the technique of “trompe I’oeil”, the museum turns two-dimensional paintings into three-dimensional images through the use of optical illusions.

art in paradise chiang mai

art in paradise chiang mai

art in paradise chiang mai

At Art In Paradise Chiang Mai, visitors can interact with more than 100 paintings, posing themselves just right so that they look as if they are part of the original work. Paintings on the museum walls, floors and ceilings appear to pop out of the surface and come to life. A total of three floors with six themed galleries gives you the feeling of traveling the world, from Asia to Egypt and Europe. Paintings also take you deep into the sea and on safari: another section includes surrealist paintings.

At Art In Paradise Chiang Mai you’ll be creating unforgettable memories with friends and family amid fun and laughter. The museum prides itself to make art easy and fun for people of all ages.


art in paradise chiang mai

art in paradise chiang mai

The latest addition to the museum is the VDO Art Function which censors your movements and changes them with animation characters. This is a favorite for young children and parents.

After an afternoon of fun and pictures, you can enjoy the pleasures of a delicious cafe at the first floor of the museum, offering scrumptious organic drinks and cakes.

Art In Paradise Chiang Mai  is open daily from 9 am. to 9 pm.

Admission THB 300 (adult) and THB 200 (children).